Bids from seven groups approved for Spain's top airports
The seven consortiums from five countries bidding for Madrid and Barcelona airports have all passed a first phase of the process and must now present technical and financial offers by October 31, airport operating authority AENA said Tuesday.
The government hopes the sale of 90.5 percent of the airports in Spain's two largest cities will bring in around 5.3 billion euros ($7.2 billion) for the public coffers to help rein in a massive public deficit.
Consortiums led by India's GMR Infrastructure, Singapore's Changi Airport, Spain's Ferrovial, the French Aeroports de Paris and Germany's Fraport are eyeing both airports.
For Madrid's Barajas airport, Spain's Grupo San Jose group is also a bidder, while Spanish group Abertis is on the list of those seeking Barcelona's El Prat.
All the candidates have "shown they have the required technical and economic-financial aptitude and pass to the second phase of the bidding process," AENA said in a statement.
The Spanish government announced on July 15 that it had approved the launching of bids for stakes in the two airports, as well as 49 percent of AENA itself.
The call for bids involves more than 90 percent of the management contracts for the two airports - 3.7 billion euros for Barajas and 1.6 billion euros for El Prat -- for 20 years, extendable by a further five years.
The process is to be completed at the end of November.
The winning group will have three months before taking over the airports, which would likely take place in early 2012.
The sale is part of the Madrid government's effort to cut the public deficit from 9.24 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to the eurozone ceiling of 3.0 percent in 2013.
© 2011 AFP